Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Michael W. Duffel


Industrial chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were widely used for decades until their production was banned worldwide due to their persistence and toxicities to humans and other animals. Upon oxidative metabolism by cytochrome P450, hydroxylated metabolites of PCBs (OHPCBs) are formed. OHPCBs have been shown to competitively displace thyroxine from transthyretin, block normal hormonal activity, and inhibit phenol or family 1 sulfotransferases (SULTs) which catalyze sulfation of thyroid hormones and estrogens. Recently, three OHPCBs were shown to also interact with hydroxysteroid or family 2 sulfotransferases that play a role in the homeostasis of steroid hormones such as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).

The objectives of the studies presented in this thesis were to further examine the effects of selected OHPCBs on the activity of human hydroxysteroid sulfotransferase (hSULT2A1), to develop a three-dimensional quantitative structure activity relationship (3D-QSAR) model for OHPCBs as inhibitors of DHEA-sulfation catalyzed by this enzyme, and to investigate the mechanism of inhibition and binding of OHPCBs to hSULT2A1.

All 15 OHPCBs examined inhibited the sulfation of 1 μ M [3H] DHEA, catalyzed by hSULT2A1 with IC50 values ranging from 0.6 to 96 μ M. The OHPCBs with a 3, 5-dichloro-4-hydroxy substitution were the most potent inhibitors of DHEA sulfation, and they were also shown to be substrates for hSULT2A1. Eight OHPCBs were substrates for hSULT2A1, and seven were solely inhibitors (i.e. they inhibited the sulfation of DHEA, yet they were not themselves sulfuryl-acceptors in hSULT2A1-catalyzed reactions). A 3D-QSAR model was developed utilizing comparative molecular field analysis (CoMFA). The model fit the data well and also had good predictability.

The kinetics of inhibition showed that these OHPCBs were noncompetitive inhibitors of hSULT2A1. Binding studies utilizing the displacement of a fluorescent probe, 8-anilino-1-naphthalene sulfonic acid, revealed that several of the OHPCBs interact either at more than one binding site or with more than one enzyme conformation. Further exploration of this binding by molecular modeling showed that OHPCBs bind similarly to different conformations of the enzyme. This work has helped in our understanding of the roles of sulfotransferases in the metabolism and toxicities of OHPCBs, and it opens new avenues for future work.


3D-QSAR, CoMFA, dehydroepiandrosterone, Hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls, Molecular Modeling, Sulfotransferases


xvi, 126 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 107-126).


Copyright 2011 Edugie Ekuase